Close Friends vs. Best Friends: 16 Critical Differences

Last Updated on February 14, 2024 by Lifevif Team and JC Franco

Friends Walking Outdoors Together

How do you tell who your best friends are and who your close friends are? Is there some sort of system in place that sets the besties apart from the regular “close” friends? I would say a lot of the difference comes down to how you connect with and behave around each other. I have been thinking a lot about close friendships and best friendships recently, and realized that there are several undeniable differences.

When you first think about best friends and close friends, it might seem like they are one and the same thing, until you consider the below differences. These differences are what set apart the people you like to have around and the people you absolutely cannot live without. You know that friend who is a permanent fixture in your life, who knows everything about you, and is always there? Well, that’s a best friend for you. 

If you want to understand the differences between close friends and best friends, read on.

16 ways in which close friends and best friends differ:

1. Close friends let things go; best friends don’t.

Close friends might know a bit about you, but they probably don’t see a reason to keep bringing up old news. That’s where best friends differ. Best friends have a vested interest in dragging up all of the old dirt on you – it’s fun, it’s relevant, and it’s what ties you together.

2. Best friends tease you about embarrassing things; close friends don’t.

If you do something extra embarrassing, such as fall off your bar stool, fart in public, or slip and fall in front of your crush, a close friend will help you calm down and try to move on with the festivities or fun times. Best friends are nothing like that. A best friend will mock you, tease you, and regularly reference the embarrassing act. They don’t just find it amusing; they are showing you that they care enough about you to make light of situations that leave you feeling embarrassed. 

3. Close friends know some of your favorite jokes, but best friends know all the inside jokes.

There’s always a joke to share with a close friend, but when you’re sitting with a best friend, that’s when the jokes really start. Personal inside jokes are a surefire sign that you’re dealing with a best friend

4. Close friends know you, but best friends know everything about you. 

If you’re spending time with a close friend, you can expect for the friend to know what your hobbies are and what restaurants and bars you like to frequent. A best friend will know everything from your favorite drink to your most deep-seated insecurities – that’s just the way it works with a best friend. 

5. Close friends ignore your unsuitable partner, whereas best friends make you aware of it.

When hanging out with a close friend, if they don’t like your partner, they probably won’t mention it. If you are spending time with a best friend and they don’t like your partner, you can expect them to pull you aside and tell you exactly why. Best friends want what’s best for you, and an unsuitable partner is not what a best friend would consider “best for you”.

6. Close friends don’t know your daily schedule, but best friends do!

A close friend will call you to find out what you are doing and what you will be up to later. A best friend will know precisely what you are doing on certain days of the week and will have a general idea of whether you are available or not before they call to see if you want to hang out. 

7. Close friends come for drinks, but best friends arrive and help themselves to the contents of your fridge.

When you invite a close friend to come for drinks, they will probably be polite and wait to be served drinks and snacks. That’s not quite the case with a best friend. Best friends will arrive, open your fridge, help themselves and make themselves completely at home. A best friend is like family!

Man taking beer from a fridge

8. Close friends send you birthday wishes; best friends are there with you.

All of your close friends may make calls or send you messages to wish you a happy birthday. Best friends won’t need to make those calls or send those messages because they will be right next to you, celebrating your birthday with you.  

9. You laugh in front of close friends, but you can cry in front of best friends.

You probably won’t show your true emotions to just anyone. Close friends are the people you generally spend time with to laugh and have fun with. Of course, you do this with a best friend too, but you do more than that; you can actually fall apart and cry in front of a best friend too, because you know that a best friend is there for you and truly cares for you. 

10. Close friends offer to help you, but best friends just go ahead and help you.

A close friend will be concerned about your happiness and well-being. If you are going through a hard time, a close friend will offer you some assistance. Best friends don’t need to offer help. They will see you going through a hard time and jump into immediate action, helping where they can. 

11. You barely bicker with close friends, but you have rip-roaring fights with best friends.

You don’t really get close enough to a close friend to cause arguments to arise. Best friends get close enough to get right under your skin. They know how to push your buttons, and if they don’t like what you are doing or vice versa, there will be a reason to fight. Even if you have a small argument with a close friend, chances are that it’s small enough to ignore. Arguments with best friends have meaning and have to be worked through. 

12. Close friends will always politely compliment, but best friends will give you raw honesty.

If you’re getting ready for a big event or a date, you might find yourself asking a close friend or best friend for advice on how you look. A close friend will want to be kind and not hurt your feelings and might be overly complimentary. A best friend plays a different role. A best friend might tell you that a certain outfit doesn’t bring out your best features and actually recommend changes. A best friend won’t let you leave the house looking anything but truly amazing, whereas a close friend might.

13. Best friends keep secrets, but close friends may talk behind your back.

A close friend might be able to keep a secret for a period of time, but at some point, they may talk behind your back or confide in another friend. A best friend is like Fort Knox – absolutely mum on the topic. Best friends keep secrets, guaranteed – you don’t even need to ask them to. It’s just what they do!

14. Close friends call or message to talk regularly, but best friends talk consistently about anything and everything.

A close friend will definitely call you on a regular basis, but they won’t call you every single day. A best friend will not only call you most days, but also text and message consistently. If you have a best friend, chances are that you are chatting throughout the day about absolutely everything that happens along the way. That’s the power of best friendship – nothing is boring. 

15. Close friends like and comment on your photos on social media, but best friends are always in them.

friends taking selfie

When you post photos on social media, all of your close friends will like the image, comment on it, and show you some general love. A best friend will do the same, but the only difference will be that they actually feature in all of those photos. 

16. Close friends are people you call for a good time; best friends are the people you call for the good and the bad times. 

Close friends are great for having a great time with. You have barbecues together, you go out for dinner together, you go to the moves – it’s all about fun and laughter. Best friends are certainly around for all of those good times too, but they’re the ones that are still there for the bad times. They are there for the breakups, the times you need to rant about work or your boss, the times you are sick or in the hospital, or the time you total your car. Best friends are there for all of life’s moments. 

Last Word

When it comes to close friends and best friends, they are both essential elements in your life. In my opinion, the main difference between best friends and close friends is commitment.

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This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who share their experiences and knowledge about the "Seven F's of Life".

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco is a New York-based editor for Lifevif. He mainly focuses on content about faith, spirituality, personal growth, finance, and sports. He graduated from Mercyhurst University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business, majoring in Marketing. He is a certified tennis instructor who teaches in the New York City Metropolitan area. In terms of finance, he has passed the Level I exam of the CFA program.